There is no universal database of IDs for floral varieties developed by breeders. This has led to weak IP protection for developers and creators of new floral varieties. Flower patents provide an incentive for breeders to innovate and develop new varieties. Once a flower is patented or patent pending, their time and money should be returned through royalties that are paid to the owner/breeder. However, without a globally accepted and used solution, there is a very high risk that breeders will not be able to get a return on their investment and there is confusion as to who actually owns the rights.
The exact source of flowers is often unknown or unclear. Many smaller farms serve as “feeder” farms for many larger flower conglomerates. In many cases, global buyers are also unable to see product availability, the price and the source when searching for product. There are several online and offline buying platforms globally. However, few of them interface with each other in any practical way. As a result, each day 10-20% of the average grower’s good crop goes to waste as prospective buyers are not matched with sellers.
There are multiple floral marketplaces in different parts of the globe, but there is no universal method to exchange product information for buyers and sellers. Different software systems, currencies and languages make this process even more problematic for global buyers and sellers. Like growers, many wholesalers throw away over 10-20% wastage as they are stuck with product that they cannot sell. Once again, the critical component of matching sellers with buyers is not utilized to its full capacity.
When flowers are ready for shipping from the farm, there is no universal tracking method to identity the shipment and/or grower boxes. There is no agreed upon standard for date coding to verify that old product is not being sold to buyers. There is no universal standard with shipping companies (air, ship or truck) to identify each shipment. Flowers are perishable goods and some of them have very high requirements when it comes to temperature, humidity and time spent in shipment.
Florists are often limited to their local wholesaler/distributor with regard to varieties available and pricing. Individually, they do not purchase nearly enough volume to go direct to the source. Increasing pricing pressures from mass market channels make the flower industry a very difficult business to enter and remain profitable.
There is currently no agreed upon standard for flower order payments and country specific payments between floral retailers across the world. In many countries, private wire order clearinghouses charge upwards of 7% or more on each floral order and pay the filling florist up to 45 days after final delivery to consumers. Among ERP, POS and website technology providers, there is no agreed upon API standard for exchanging flower orders. Also lacking is the ability (across different software platforms) to identify floral orders or tracking numbers to track the final delivery to the consumer.
As there is no common global standard for any part of the industry, everyone from growers all the way to end consumers do not have a way to verify if they are buying from someone reputable or how long that product has been in transit since harvest.